Jon Fredrikson told executives at the Unified Wine and Grape Symposium that U.S. production increased 2 per cent last year to help meet demand.
"This market was brutally competitive," Fredrikson told the crowd.
Bulk wine imports from Argentina helped slake the thirsts of U.S. consumers, followed by Chile and Australia. New Zealand has boosted its planted acreage by almost a quarter and is expected to become a bigger player, especially with production of sauvignon blanc.
Wine consumption is decreasing in France and Italy, so increasingly foreign producers are aiming for the U.S. market.
Overseas wines now account for 35 per cent of sales in the U.S.
According to the Press Democrat of Santa Rosa (http://bit.ly/WVhZEz), Fredrikson said consumers were driven to cheaper imports by grape shortages in the U.S. in 2010 and 2011 that resulted in higher prices for domestic wines.
Even the Charles Shaw label — known affectionately as "Two Buck Chuck" — was forced to raise prices this month by 50-cents per bottle.
One of the biggest sales success stories was Modesto-based Gallo, which saw sales increase by 9 per cent in 2011 and 5 per cent last year.Suggest a correction